Rail bosses dealing with the chaos of today's cable theft between Bedford and Bletchley are calling for reforms to regulate the scrap metal industry.
Thousands of passengers travelling between London and Bedford have been delayed after almost 1km of signalling cable was stolen last night.
Signalling was only restored at around 3pm, however it is likely that disruption will continue for the remainder of the day.
Now rail chiefs have said incidents like today's have highlighted the need to halt the market for illegal metal.
– Martin Frobisher, Network Rail route managing director
This morning’s incident shows the huge damage that just one incident can do. We firmly believe that without legal reform we will continue to see thousands of hours of delay and millions of pounds wasted on these crimes.
Network Rail has taken extensive measures to protect our vital railway but we are only stemming the tide.
Reform that effectively takes away the illegal market in scrap metal, including an effective licensing regime and adequate power to police and magistrates, is sorely needed to help stamp out the misery caused by these thieves."